Blockchain can enable greater transparency, accountability and trust for food supply chains. This can be done by recording and tracing data that is validated and time-stamped.
For example, a restaurant can publicly assert that its buns are vegan and have been baked using hormone-free chicken. The network then evaluates these assertions without violating the privacy of individual participants.
Transparency is the ability to see through something, which is why it’s often used in business and government as a sign of ethical behaviour. From food recipes to company salaries, if an organisation isn’t transparent it risks discouraging employees and stifling brand affinity.
Blockchain technology has the potential to improve document and public records management by ensuring authenticity. For example, a court order registered on the blockchain can be proven as genuine by anyone with access to the database. This is because all transactions on a blockchain are digitally immutable and recorded in time.
Blockchain networks are removing the friction that holds back business, bringing revolutionary trust and transparency to global trade, international payments, our food supply and more. Discover how to join IBM blockchain networks and collaborate with other companies on solutions that can help you remove barriers to speeding up your business.
A blockchain network uses a shared ledger with information that's updated through peer-to-peer replication each time a transaction takes place. This ensures that everyone with permission to access the ledger sees the same data at the same time, removing the possibility of fraud or manipulation by a single party.
The blockchain architecture also gives participants the ability to verify the identity of other network members and of the goods or assets they're trading, making it easier to establish trust. The network can use policies to constrain what transactions members can view and who they can transact with based on their roles or access privileges.
In the case of food, blockchain is being used to create a traceability system that allows growers, processors and retailers to document and share records about the origins and movements of every product through the supply chain. This will help reduce recalls and waste, as well as make it easier to respond quickly to a contamination threat.
When documents are verified on blockchain networks, they’re stored permanently and securely in a way that’s resistant to changes or tampering. This is done by generating and storing a unique digital fingerprint for each document on the network (also known as a “hash”). When anyone views a verified document, they’re automatically shown the hash it received. This ensures that the document is authentic and has not been tampered with.
This type of traceability is particularly useful in industries impacted by environmental or human rights concerns, where the public has an interest in knowing where products come from. Blockchain-based solutions can help create a transparent audit trail for products at every step of their journey, demonstrating that they’re made in ethical conditions.
One example of this is Authena, which uses blockchain technology to secure wine bottles and spirits with tamper-proof generated data that’s stored on the immutable blockchain network. It also enables consumers to check the authenticity of their purchased product with a mobile app or web portal.
Many people associate blockchain with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but it can also store other kinds of data, including inventory information. This allows companies to track the authenticity of their products.
For example, Authena uses blockchain in combination with NFC tags to seal and verify the authenticity of wine and spirits from production to the consumer. Its platform enables consumers to scan an NFC label with a smartphone to view the product’s digital identity, which links to a secure blockchain ledger of provenance and authenticity.
This technology can improve supply chain transparency and efficiency. It can help prevent contaminated or fake food from entering the supply chain, reduce operating costs, and promote customer trust and brand loyalty. It can even eliminate the need for costly product recalls, which have been known to cost an average of $10 million for a single company, according to Deloitte.